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Running older versions of iOS Simulator

2013 update: This post explains how to deal with the issue of groundlessly unathorized downloads in Xcode. It was written when iOS 6 had been released and iOS SDK versions 5 and 5.1 couldn’t be installed. You can apply the following technique if you experience a similar issue with newer versions of iOS SDK or any Xcode in-app downloads.


iOS 6 is finally out, and so is the new version of Xcode that comes with the iOS 6 SDK bundled.

Unfortunately, after upgrading to Xcode 4.5, all the previously installed SDK versions have been removed and are to be re-downloaded manually. Same goes for the CLI tools and documentation.

But the strange thing happened when I went to Preferences › Downloads › Components and hit “Install” next to “iOS 5.1 Simulator.” I was prompted for my Apple ID and password, so I typed the credentials and confirmed. It turned out I was unauthorized to download it, because I had not enrolled in the iOS Developer Program. (Installing Command Line Tools went just fine, though.)

It was a serious matter to me, because I’m a front-end engineer and I test my work under different browsers, including the second-latest major version of Mobile Safari.

Fixing the issue

I headed over to the downloads page for Apple Developers to get the previous version of Xcode, 4.4.1. Downloaded the .dmg and mounted it. Right-clicked the Xcode.app to “Show Package Contents.”

I quickly found what I was looking for in Contents/Developer/Platforms/iPhoneSimulator.platform/Developer/SDKs and copied iPhoneSimulator5.1.sdk over to the same location in /Applications/Xcode.app.

After launching the app, I skeptically hit ⌘, to see if I had succeeded. I was positively surprised:

Xcode › Preferences › Downloads › Components

Now, you can access it through Hardware › Version › 5.1 menu in the Simulator, just like you’re used to.

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